One of the most challenging tasks for any cricketer is to bottle up their feelings, to not let it out on the battlefield, in the media or anywhere else in the course of their journey. The roller coaster ride of emotions they have to go through can sometimes get the better of the person.
This happens too often in Test cricket where the format itself is a five day of gruelling, arduous test for the players, their technique, preparation and mental endurance.
Australian coach Justin Langer has revealed how he once ‘grabbed’ his former colleague Adam Gilchrist ‘by the neck’ in the Ashes tour of England in 2001.
Langer was expected to retain his No.3 spot for the Ashes, but the scintillating form of Damien Martyn in ODI cricket made it too tempting for the Aussies to omit the latter in the Test series. And thereby, Langer missed out the first match to make way for Martyn.
And what was even more crushing for the former batsman was that it was Steve Waugh, his hero, his idol, who gave him the shocking news.
“About two days before the first Test, I had a knock on the door from the legend Steve Waugh, who literally was my hero. [He] knocks on the door of my hotel room… walked into my room and says, ‘I don’t know how to tell you this mate, but you are not playing in the first Test.’ I didn’t know whether to cry on his shoulders or punch him out,” Langer said in a conversation with Shane Watson on ‘Lessons Learnt with the Greats’ podcast.
“This is my hero and my big brother, telling me that I was out [of the first Test], and I was literally shocked, I just didn’t see it coming. Damien Martyn had been in such amazing form in the one-day series leading up to it and he was so good [that] they couldn’t ignore him, and I was the casualty from it,” he added.
Even when Waugh was ruled out in the fourth match, Langer was overlooked because of his poor performance with Sussex in the practice match.
“I remember at Sussex and I’m thinking, ‘This is my chance, come on, Tugga [Steve Waugh] is out, this is my chance.’ At Sussex, I remember the first innings, I batted with Gilly, and I nearly started crying at the crease because Gilly is smacking them all around the park. I can’t even hit the ball to the square.”
“Adam Gilchrist, he is one of my great friends, and who was the captain, I grabbed him by the neck and chucked him up against the wall, ‘Look what you blokes have done to me!’ and I got really upset,” Langer remarked.